Tactile Sensor Construction Technology

Our lab has been using capacitive sensor technology for almost 10 years now. The interface circuit we are using has been designed by Matt Berkemeier, Ed Nicolson and Ron Fearing. The technology is based on earlier work by:
R. A. Boie, ``Capacitive Impedance Readout Tactile Image Sensor,'' IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation, Atlanta, GA, March, 1984.
Boie, R.A. and Miller, G.L. 1985. Conformable tactile sensor. U.S. Patent #4,526,043.
D.M. Siegel, I. Garabieta, J.M. Hollerbach, `` A Capacitive Based Tactile Sensor,'' SPIE Conf. on Intelligent Robots and Computer Vision, Cambridge, MA Sept. 1985.
See Ed Nicolson's PhD Thesis for some detailed specs.
Tactile Sensing and Control of a Planar Manipulator in pdf
E. Nicolson
Ph.D. Thesis, University of California at Berkeley, November 1994.
We would like to see other people able to use the technology, so we are making our schematics available. All parts except for the HI5320 S/H are readily available from DigiKey. There is also a detailed set of instructions on constructing a tactile sensor using silicone rubber.

Summary of electronic specifications:




Summary of sensor specifications:



The figure shows a 16 by 3 sensor designed by Ed Nicolson and Kiwoon Kim. We have built sensors ranging from 16x3 on 25 mm diameter to 8 by 8 on 1 mm by 1 mm. For the 25 mm diameter sensor we have:

Future Directions

Papers


A Surface Micromachined Microtactile Sensor Array
B.L. Gray and R.S. Fearing
IEEE Int. Conf. Robotics and Automation, April 1996.
Sensing Capabilities of Linear Elastic Cylindrical Fingers,
E. Nicolson and R. Fearing,
In Proceedings, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems'93,
Yokohama, Japan, pp. 178-185, July 1993.
The Reliability of Curvature Estimates from Linear Elastic Tactile Sensors,
E. Nicolson and R. Fearing,
Presented at the 1995 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation,
Nagoya, Japan, May 1995
Fourier Analysis of the Bandlimited Shape Estimation Problem in Tactile Sensing,
E. Nicolson and R. Fearing,
Internal Memo, October 1994
Tactile Sensing and Control of a Planar Manipulator in pdf
E. Nicolson
Ph.D. Thesis, University of California at Berkeley, November 1994.

See also:

"Basic Solid Mechanics for Tactile Sensing,"
R.S. Fearing and J.M. Hollerbach,
Int. Journal of Robotics Research, vol. 4, number 3, Fall, 1985, pp. 40-54
"Tactile Sensing Mechanisms,"
R. S. Fearing,
Int. Journal of Robotics Research, vol. 9, number 3, June, 1990, pp. 3-23

Ed Nicolson's home page

Last update: 11 August 1995